6 x 30 min episodes
When Russell T. Davies shot to fame with his revival of Dr Who, some of his earlier works were released on DVD. These included Century Falls, previously reviewed, and this Dark Season, a six part children's drama series about strange goings on in the local school, investigated by weirdly intense Marcie, and her two older friends, Tom and Reet, much to the dismay of their teacher, Miss Maitland.
From the opening swirly credits and electronic music, this initially seems like a Dr Who pastiche, homage, or rip-off. But actually, it's more of a Sarah Jane Adventures prototype: schoolkids investigating weird goings on, albeit without the help of a wiser, older companion. Here, the precocious Marcie partly fills that role, as the three investigate the sinister Mr Eldritch and his suspicious gift of computers to the school, then the weird Miss Pendragon and her peculiar archeological dig under the school.
Some of the ideas are good, but it's a bit let down by the concept. What may be acceptable, even charming, eccentricity in a nine-hundred year old Time Lord is bratty and unconvincing in a 13 year old, particularly when the acting style is mainly bad-tempered and sulky shouting. And if you are going to carry a canoe paddle around for six episodes, it seems a bit of a waste never to use it.
Still, it's good to see Jacqueline Pearce chewing the scenery again. And yes, and that really is the Kate Winslet.
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]
reviewed 1 May 2011